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Ibrahima Konate could clinch obscure Liverpool landmark on record night

Liverpool have equalled an English record as they take on Villarreal in tonight’s Champions League semi-final, with Ibrahima Konate in line for a landmark.

Konate could become the first Liverpool defender in history to score in three successive European games.

In the home leg against Benfica earlier this month he became only the fourth Reds player ever to net his opening two goals for the club in European competition.

Michael Robinson scored twice against Odense in 1983, followed by Robbie Keane (against PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in the group stage in 2008) and Trent Alexander-Arnold against Hoffenheim in a qualifier and in Maribor in the group stage in 2017.

 

Equalling United

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 13, 2022: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the third goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and SL Benfica at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have now reached their 12th European Cup/Champions League semi-final to equal the British record previously held solely by Man United.

The Reds have gone on to reach the final nine times.

Their two semi-final losses in this competition – to Inter Milan in 1965 and Chelsea in 2008 – both came when they played the first leg at home.

But they have lost only one European semi-final at Anfield – to Leeds in the 1971 Fairs Cup – winning 15 and drawing three of the other 18.

Since that loss they are unbeaten in 16 at this stage at home, winning 13.

This is Liverpool’s third Champions League semi-final in the last five seasons.

 

Another club record

A Liverpool win will see them equal the club record of 43 wins in a season, set in 2019/20 (including penalty shootout victories).

 

Everpresent Alisson

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 24, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 5 game between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alisson has played every minute of Liverpool’s European campaign.

But the Reds have only kept three clean sheets in their 10 Anfield games this season played in cup competition.

 

Villarreal vs. England

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, May 5, 2016: Liverpool and Villarreal players shake hands before the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Villarreal have met English teams on 21 previous occasions, winning six times with seven draws and eight defeats.

They have played three times this season against teams from this country.

They were defeated home and away in their group by Man United after losing on penalties in the Super Cup final to Chelsea in Belfast.

They have won once in England in nine games – winning 2-1 at Everton in a Champions League qualifier in 2005. Of the next eight, they have lost five, scoring twice while conceding 11.

In their last 18 meetings against English teams in all games they have scored only eight times.

 

Moreno’s bittersweet reunion

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - Wednesday, April 27, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Alberto Moreno during a press conference ahead of the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final 1st Leg match against Villarreal CF at Estadio El Madrigal. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The last time these teams met in Europe, Alberto Moreno was in the Liverpool team.

This evening, injury will prevent him from playing for Villarreal. He scored three times in 141 games for the Reds before joining Villarreal in 2019.

Moreno scored a penalty in last season’s Europa League final shootout win over Man United.

 

Unai Emery

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 11: Unai Emery, Head coach of Villarreal gives their team instructions during the UEFA Super Cup 2021 match between Chelsea FC and Villarreal CF at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on August 11, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Lukas Schulze - © UEFA)

Unai Emery led Sevilla to the 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in the 2016 Europa League final, after trailing at half-time to a Daniel Sturridge goal in Basel.

That is his only victory in five meetings, drawing once and losing three times while in charge at Arsenal.

He has conceded 13 goals in his last three visits to Anfield – losing 5-1 and 3-1 in the league and going out on penalties in the League Cup after a 5-5 draw.

Emery won an unprecedented three successive Europa League titles while with Sevilla and was a runner-up with Arsenal in 2019.

This is his seventh attempt at winning the Champions League and he recently passed the landmark of 900 matches as a coach.

 

Tonight’s referee

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Referee Szymon Marciniak points to the spot and awards Liverpool a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Szymon Marciniak takes charge of Liverpool for the third time this season, having also refereed the wins at home to AC Milan and away at Inter Milan.

He refereed Villarreal’s 3-0 win at Juventus in the round of 16 last month.

 

This season’s scorers

MILAN, ITALY - Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC at the Stadio San Siro. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Salah 30, Jota 21, Mane 19, Firmino 11, Minamino 9, Fabinho 7, Origi 6, Diaz 4, Henderson 3, Keita 3, Konate 3, Oxlade-Chamberlain 3, Van Dijk 3, Alexander-Arnold 2, Robertson 2, Thiago 2, Elliott 1, Gordon 1, Jones 1, Matip 1, own goals 1

Villarreal: Danjuma 14, G.Moreno 12, Trigueros 8, Pino 7, Chukwueze 6, Dia 6, A.Moreno 6, Torres 5, Alcacer 4, Parejo 4, Capoue 3, Gomez 2, Mandi 2, own goals 2, Albiol 1, Coquelin 1, Iosifov 1, Pedraza 1, Raba 1 (0)


* Stats courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).

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